Korean War remains identified as USA troops, Mattis says

Jennie Jin a forensic anthropologist shows some of the objects that accompanied the human remains handed over by North Korea

Modal Trigger Jennie Jin a forensic anthropologist shows some of the objects that accompanied the human remains handed over by North Korea. Reuters

According to recent reports, on Monday, the USA military agency leading the analysis on bodies have confirmed that they have identified the remains of the first two American troops which were mixed together with other 55 boxes of other countries human remains which were obtained from the 1950 to 1953 Korean War which were handed over by the North Korea in the beginning of July.

"One of the reasons that we were able to identify them so quickly [was because their remains] were more complete than usual so it gave us more to look at and narrow down the identity with", said John Byrd, director of scientific analysis at the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, from a facility in Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Hawaii where work to identify the bodies is ongoing.

Both service members were determined to have died in late 1950 near the Chongchon River and the remains were identified using DNA analysis and historical documents, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Byrd said the names will be announced publicly once the family is notified, the report said.

After the US military informs family members, it plans to announce their names in the coming days, the officials said.

Between 1996 and 2005, the US worked with North Korea and recovered around 400 caskets of remains, though Washington halted the cooperation in 2005 as it could not guarantee the safety of its personnel.

President Donald Trump's administration has hailed the handover of the remains as evidence of the success of his summit with North Koran leader Kim Jong Un in June.

"We have identified a couple of the remains", Mattis told reporters at the Pentagon, clarifying later that it was two sets.

Byrd acknowledged that it could take months for the next round of identifications.

On Monday, the Pentagon said United Nations military officials met with North Korean counterparts last week to discuss the repatriation of additional remains.

The July transfer coincided with the 65th anniversary of the 1953 armistice that ended fighting between North Korean and Chinese forces and South Korean and US -led forces under the U.N. Command.

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